Re: Divorce: shared custody should be mandatory

From: Chuck Murcko (
Date: Fri Feb 23 2001 - 16:25:41 PST

On Friday, February 23, 2001, at 04:33 PM, Lisa Dusseault wrote:

> > > Here's a curious gray area. Should the custodial parent be
> > able to cut a
> > > deal, waiving child support in return for severely curtailed or
> > non-existent
> > > visiting rights?
> > >
> >
> > IMO no. That cheapens the value of a kid's life even more than
> > the existing DR laws.
> What are you talking about? How does it cheapen the value of a kid's life?
> That's such a vague catchphrase that it's hard to understand where it fits
> into the discussion. For example, we're not talking about a kid's life vs.
> death here -- we're talking about quality of life.

Whoa. We're talking about making a deal to save some money in return for never seeing your kid again, potentially. That *is* serious business to me, and it seems even more like treating kids as trading cards than today's behavior and laws do. To me there is *no* price that will buy my son not having a father around. I think that's a bit less vague.

> > We have ways not to have kids, including abortion. As a
> > libertarian, I support women's right to choose as strongly as I
> What that actually means, is that women have ways not to have kids. Men
> don't actually have the ability, realistically, to choose not to have kids
> (Assuming the man doesn't want a vasectomy because he wants kids someday,
> just not right now, or now with this woman).
> So as a libertarian, don't you support the man's right to choose not to have
> kids? How do you propose to protect that right if a woman fraudulently
> arranges to get pregnant despite his efforts?

Men have the same choice. And I support that just as fiercely. And yes, there are other choices than irreversible vasectomies, including those damned expensive little gold valves they put in. Men have the *actual* ability and choice to not have kids, as well as women. To claim otherwise is silly.

And lest we forget, couples can make these choices together. I'm not interested in starting some Mars v. Venus flame war here.

Fraud is fraud. It's wrong. One can choose to fight in that situation, and take the spin of the roulette wheel in US courts. Or not. Life will never be totally fair. It is not even possible to legislate it to be so, though some would like to try. Is fraudulent pregnancy most of the reproductive cases around? I don't think so. Just the loudest talked about in some circles.

Let's not forget that my belief system is just as valid as yours. I hope we can both accept that.

> It's been suggested to me that the right thing to do is to allow the
> biological father to sign away all parenting rights and responsibilities at
> or before birth (part of the requirements of being allowed to do this would
> be to swear that they have never encouraged the mother to have the kid or
> promised support in the case of pregnancy). I'm not sure I agree that's the
> right thing to do, but on the other hand, I haven't been able to
> satisfactorily refute it, either.

I chose to do exactly *not* that. I also chose not to marry mom against considerable social pressure, since the outcome of that would have been a disaster. I reserve the right to have that choice, not have it taken away by some social engineers/politicos. And I reserve the right to have a life with my son. Instead of shutting up, I put up. His mom finally got that cluon after a few years, and after a few more years, thinks it's a pretty Good Thing after all. Remember, blood is way, way thicker than water, and not every NCP wants to take the back door out that you describe. That's a pro choice position too. For all NCPs, not just fathers.

You think it's about time to put this one to bed? I think we understand and accept each others' positions, more or less, even if we don't agree on everything.

Chuck Murcko
Topsail Group

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Fri Apr 27 2001 - 23:18:27 PDT